Kukla's Korner

Leafs Have Hope

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, since the start of conference play in the NHL in 1993-94, only five teams have won once or less in their first 10 games and still made the playoffs, two of those coached by Wilson.

His 2003-04 San Jose Sharks and 1996-97 Anaheim Mighty Ducks both faltered at the start with just one win, but Wilson took the Sharks to the Conference championship, while Paul Kariya came back after their slump to help Wilson and the team make the playoffs for the first time in Ducks’ history.

read on for the other teams that have made the playoffs…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Spezza Becoming A Complete Player

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Chris Stevenson of the Ottawa Sun,

In past years, four assists in seven games for Spezza would have pretty much indicated a disaster for the Senators, given their reliance on him, captain Daniel Alfredsson and former winger Dany Heatley, who supplied the offence on a top-heavy group of forwards.

The offence is now spread out, giving Spezza time to adjust to some significant role changes.

After playing almost every game over four seasons with Heatley, and many with Alfredsson, Spezza is adjusting to new linemates Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo, who came over from the San Jose Sharks in the Heatley trade.

Spezza’s defensive contribution has expanded. He’s getting a chance to kill penalties and take some big faceoffs, which is paying off for the Senators. Spezza leads the club with a 56.9 winning percentage on faceoffs.

His defensive game has grown thanks to his skating and work ethic, both of which look to have improved this season.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Ottawa Senators, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: jason+spezza

The Bar Is Set Higher In Columbus

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Larry Wigge of NHL.com,

Expectations have been raised more than just a notch according to Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash. No longer is it about just making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s playing a lot better than when they get there than they did in the first round of the playoffs last spring, when they lost four straight to the Detroit Red Wings.

Nash looks around the room and knows which players he can count on. And that team concept starts across the dressing room from him, in the form of second-year goaltender Steve Mason.

“It’s huge when you’ve got a guy back there who you know is going to stop a lot of pucks. All the confidence in the world starts with ‘Mase,’” Nash said. “It’s so much easier to take a chance or two offensively when you know he’s back there and he’s got your back.”

continued plus Central Division chatter…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Frolov Responds To Being A Healthy Scratch

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Rich Hammond of LA Kings Insider,

Question: Did the coaches give you a clear understanding of why you’re not playing tonight?

FROLOV: “Well, it was Terry’s decision. He told me I’m out of the lineup tonight, I guess because I didn’t play well in the last games.’’...

Question: Did you have a reaction to that at all?

FROLOV: “Well, there’s nobody that wants to be scratched, but it was his decision. He’s the head coach and I have to respect it. It doesn’t matter if I agree or disagree with it. It’s just, I have to do my job and work hard and try to do my best.’’

Question: He had said that you didn’t really have a response at all. Is that so? Do you feel comfortable talking to him in those situations?

FROLOV: “I don’t know. It was just his decision for tonight. I think we’re going to talk more later on, tomorrow or later.’’

more

added 7:00am, from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,

“It’s not a player making a physical mistake. It borders on not caring and that’s not tolerable,” Lombardi said by phone Monday.

“And what we’ll do as a team and as a franchise is you get on board or you get a surfboard and go to Hawaii. So that’s it.”

Lombardi said he and Murray had spoken often to the Russian winger, who has one goal, five points and a minus-one defensive rating. He said neither of them saw any discernible reaction from Frolov, who has been playing with Michal Handzus and Wayne Simmonds.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Los Angeles Kings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: alexander+frolov

Frustrated In Toronto

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun,

The angry glare in Luke Schenn’s eyes spoke volumes when a reporter brought up his third-period stint on the bench Saturday night.

No, there wasn’t an injury behind the move and yes, he was humiliated about playing just three shifts in the Leafs’ seventh defeat (0-6-1). Welcome to Ron Wilson Roulette, where any Leaf might feel those splinters until this club wins a game.

“No one has stepped up and when you make a mistake, that’s the way it’s going to be,” Schenn said yesterday at the MasterCard Centre. “They’re going with the guys playing the best.”

That Schenn would be singled out shows how far the Leafs have slipped. Last season’s NHL’s all-rookie team member was among the most trustworthy in his own zone.

This year, first with veteran partner Francois Beauchemin and then others, Schenn has the same malaise that’s gripped the dressing room. Toronto has given up a league-high 28 goals, while four defencemen, Schenn, Tomas Kaberle, Mike Komisarek and Beauchemin are a combined minus-17.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: luke+schenn

Best Of The Week

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Goals…

Hits & saves can be watched below…

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Modano Day-To-Month

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News,

Mike Modano was flying through a morning skate practice on Friday and looked good, whipping shots on net, flipping backhanded passes to teammates and skating with the natural stride that looks all too smooth to come from 39-year-old legs.

And then it happened.

“I tried a one-timer from (Mike) Ribeiro, and it just fell apart,” Modano said of a tweak to a rib injury that has kept him out since the first game of the season.

And so the Stars center went from thinking he would be in the lineup Monday against the Kings to not knowing when he might return. He said he doubts he will be on the Stars’ three-game road trip that starts Wednesday in Anaheim and lists himself as “day to day for the next month.”

more on the Stars…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Dallas Stars, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: mike+modano

A Look At The Sedins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

friom Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal via the Vancouver Sun,

In Alain Vigneault’s eyes, there is only one positive to Daniel Sedin being on the shelf with a broken foot.

“Now, when I see (the twin) Hank in this environment I know it’s him, and when I see Danny on crutches, well, I know who he is … first time since I’ve been here (four years) that I can say that,” chuckled the Vancouver Canucks’ head coach, who makes no bones about the fact he still can’t tell Daniel from Henrik, unless they’ve got numbers on their jerseys.

“Any time I crossed one of them I’d always say ‘How’s it going, Danny?’ I had a 50-50 chance. They would say yes or no. On the ice, when I’m looking at them (in practice), I’ve always said ‘which one are you?’ They’ll turn around to show me a number,” said Vigneault.

continued...

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: daniel+sedin, henrik+sedin

More On The Chelios Plan

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Elliotte Friedman & Tim Wharnsby of CBC,

The number one reaction to the NHLPA’s 19-3 vote in favour of forming a players committee to review the entire organization has been disappointment.

This sentiment was expressed because most players and agents felt that the Chris Chelios-led conference on Sunday evening was an extremely important step in rebuilding the tattered union.

But eight player reps either did not partake in the call or did not vote, leaving Chelios one vote short of the necessary 20 and three shy of the 25 required for a quorum.

Under the new NHLPA constitution, players can still cast a vote up to 72 hours after the conference call.

The speculation is that Chelios will eventually get his desired result.

continued

Filed in: NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: chris+chelios

Tortorella Helped Erin Andrews With Her Career

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Tom Jones of the St. Peterburg Times via Scripps News,

Q: Let’s talk about your career. How much did former Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella (the coach when Andrews started with the NHL team) influence your career?

(Erin Andrews)  A: “Torts’ has meant so much to me in my life and in my career. It was clearly a situation where he didn’t want a 22-year-old around that team, nor should he have. He was trying to turn around the worst team in the league. And here’s this 22-year-old kid right out of school traveling on the bus, at the hotel, at all the practices.

But he taught me so much about how to prepare, how you should act as a professional, how to ask questions. I mean, if you weren’t prepared, a guy like that could be tough to deal with. (Laughs) And he taught me to have no fear. He taught me how to prepare and jump right in. He was so good and respectful to me, and he didn’t have to be. Everybody with the Lightning was like that.

more but not much more hockey talk…

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: erin+andrews, john+tortorella

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